As the COVID-19 pandemic devastates the global economy, there's an opportunity for governments to support a green-led recovery.
This will involve rethinking and transforming the systems that underpin the economy most notably the energy sector, as we move away from the current fossil-fuel based energy systems.
And powering the new normal of renewable energy, green cars and green sustainable and highly digitalized infrastructure are energy storage systems such as batteries. Today we discuss the green recovery and how batteries can make or break post-pandemic economies. I'm joined by Waqas ADENWALA, Asia Analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit joining us from Singapore. Great to see you.
We also connect with Andrew LIM, Trade Commissioner at the Quebec Government Office in Seoul. Thanks for joining us.
Waqas: The S. Korean economy was losing steam before the virus hit, with the export volume of its main cash cows memory chips and automobiles on a downward trend. What were some structural problems that hindered growth, and will the country's Green New Deal put Korea on the road to green recovery?
Andrew: What constitutes a green recovery for the economy, and why are next generation batteries crucial?
Waqas: Can Korea make this green transition straight away? Or will it have to make adjustments (in terms of infrastructure, and such)?
Andrew: Korean companies are among the world's top Electric Vehicle or EV battery suppliers, and even in the country's Green New Deal, the focus is on EV batteries. But they face huge competition from Japan and China as well as the U.S. Should Korea try to find a new niche in the battery industry, like the EU is trying to do? What kind of opportunities do you see?
Andrew: As we see from companies like Tesla and Nikola, there've been some comparisons made between fuel cells and batteries. Why are more and more countries, including Korea, betting on hydrogen-powered technologies and even "hydrogen economies"?
Waqas: Could green industries the battery sector, in particular, help reduce the country's dependence on its traditional export items?
Andrew: Right now Korea's R&D in next generation energy storage systems are being conducted by the likes of LG, SK and Samsung. But some say North America and Europe have the strength of start-ups, public research and innovation ecosystems. To turn this sector into a new source of economic growth for Korea, how can the country spur innovation and collaboration with global companies? Could Canada's Hydro Quebec be an example?
Waqas: How important is green recovery not only to South Korea's economic growth but also China and Japan's? How quickly do you see recovery happening compared to the rest of the world?
This is where we'll have to wrap up the discussion today. That was Waqas Adenwala, Asia Analyst for the Economist Intelligence Unit joining us from Singapore, and Andrew LIM, Trade Commissioner at the Quebec Government Office in Seoul. Thank you for your insights.